Location within the U.S. state of North Dakota
North Dakota's location within the U.S.
|Founded||January 4, 1873 (created)|
October 14, 1884 (organized)
|Named for||Joseph Rolette|
|o Total||939 sq mi (2,430 km2)|
|o Land||903 sq mi (2,340 km2)|
|o Water||36 sq mi (90 km2) 3.9%%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||16.1/sq mi (6.2/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
The Dakota Territory legislature created the county on January 4, 1873, with territory partitioned from Buffalo County. It was not organized at that date, and was not attached to another county for judicial or administrative purposes. It was named for Joseph Rolette Jr., a fur trader and political figure from Pembina. The county government was effected on October 14, 1884, with Dunseith as the county seat. In 1885 the county seat was assigned to Saint John, and in 1889 it was assigned to Rolla.
Rolette County lies on the north line of North Dakota. Its north boundary line abuts the south boundary line of Canada. Gimby Creek and Wakopa Creek flow into the northern county area from Canada. The terrain consists of dry rolling hills in the south, and more verdant low hills in the north and northwest, dotted with lakes and ponds.
The Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation is in the NE part of Rolette County.
Rolette County has a total area of 939 square miles (2,430 km2), of which 903 square miles (2,340 km2) is land and 36 square miles (93 km2) (3.9%) is water.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 13,674 people, 4,556 households, and 3,366 families in the county. The population density was 15.1/sqmi (5.85/km²). There were 5,027 housing units at an average density of 5.57/sqmi (2.15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 25.12% White, 0.07% Black or African American, 73.01% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. 0.80% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 9.3% were of Norwegian and 7.4% German ancestry. 94.6% spoke English, 1.3% Ojibwa, 1.0% French Cree and 1.0% Cree as their first language.
There were 4,556 households out of which 43.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.00% were married couples living together, 22.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.10% were non-families. 22.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.45.
The county population contained 36.50% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 25.80% from 25 to 44, 18.50% from 45 to 64, and 9.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 97.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $26,232, and the median income for a family was $29,744. Males had a median income of $24,288 versus $20,383 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,873. About 28.00% of families and 31.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.20% of those under age 18 and 19.60% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 census, there were 13,937 people, 4,783 households, and 3,413 families in the county. The population density was 15.4/sqmi (5.96/km²). There were 5,372 housing units at an average density of 5.95/sqmi (2.30/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.2% American Indian, 20.3% white, 0.2% black or African American, 0.1% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.0% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 48.5% were French Canadian, 7.0% were German, 6.8% were Norwegian, and 0.3% were American.
Of the 4,783 households, 44.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.1% were married couples living together, 23.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.6% were non-families, and 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.89 and the average family size was 3.39. The median age was 30.5 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $28,265 and the median income for a family was $35,523. Males had a median income of $35,595 versus $27,459 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,632. About 25.9% of families and 31.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.5% of those under age 18 and 24.8% of those age 65 or over.
Probably due to its Native American majority population, Rolette County voters are historically Democratic, more consistently so than other such counties in North Dakota. Since 1928 the only Republican to carry the county was Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. It was the only county in the state to support George McGovern in 1972 and is additionally the only North Dakota county to have supported Jimmy Carter in 1980. In each of the five presidential elections from 1996 to 2012, the Democratic candidate received over 60% of the vote, with Barack Obama winning 75.1% in 2008 and 74.0% in 2012. In 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton received 57.3% of the county's votes, one of the two North Dakota counties that she carried.